It began so full of hope, with dreams this might be the season that would the end the seven-year jinx that has haunted this franchise.
Instead, it seemed only fitting the Boston Red Sox, the team that has left the Angels in disarray since Dave Henderson's homer in the 1986 playoffs, again were there Saturday night to end the Angels' month of misery.
The Red Sox, behind the pitching of Roger Clemens, defeated the Angels for the fifth time this month, 4-1, in front of a sellout crowd of 55,057 at Anaheim Stadium.
The Angels (9-16), who have lost eight of their last nine games, have now equaled the worst start in their 34-year history. They also established club records for losing the most games in April, and their worst start at home, 2-11.
"It's been as difficult a month as I've ever been involved in," Angel shortstop Gary DiSarcina said. "I've never seen so many freak things happen in one month. You name it, and it's happened to us.
"The frustrating thing is that we've been playing just good enough to lose. It's like we're playing in a fog. We need to be more aggressive.
"We've been putting such an emphasis on winning instead of doing the things that make us successful."
It was a month that left starting pitcher Mark Langston, catcher Greg Myers and reliever Ken Patterson on Dr. Lewis Yocum's operating table. It was a month that sent their starting first baseman (J.T. Snow) to the minors, replacing him with their starting left fielder (Eduardo Perez). It was a month in which Chuck Finley, Phil Leftwich and Langston combined for one victory, and rookie Brian Anderson emerged as the ace of the staff.
It was also a month, however, that revealed the benefit of being realigned into perhaps the weakest division in baseball history.
The Angels have the fifth-worst record in baseball, but in the American League West, they are only two games behind the first-place Seattle Mariners (10-13).
"Thank God we're in this division," Manager Buck Rodgers said. "Believe me, I don't make any qualms about that.
"Maybe that's why I don't feel that bad about things."
Said General Manager Bill Bavasi: "Hey, compared to some of the minor league months I've been through, it hasn't been tough. I thought I'd have to prepare for worse."
The Angels, whose highlight of the evening was left fielder Dwight Smith's rendition of the national anthem, had little else go right for them. Clemens (3-1) not only yielded only four hits while striking out eight, but he allowed the Angels to hit seven balls out of the infield. He dominated them from the outset and made sure everyone knew that he's ornery as ever.
Angel starting pitcher Mark Leiter, who was victimized by three unearned runs, hit Red Sox first baseman Mo Vaughn in the stomach with a pitch in the first inning. Vaughn stopped and stared at Leiter. Rookie home-plate umpire Fieldin Culbreth stepped in front of Vaughn, and Red Sox Manager Butch Hobson came out of the dugout and escorted Vaughn to first base.
Clemens decided to wait and pick his spot. It came when Chili Davis stepped to the plate, and on a 1-and-2 pitch, was drilled in the back.
Davis strolled down to first base without looking at Clemens and playfully pushed Vaughn. He has been in this game long enough to know that there would be retaliation and sensed he would be the guy.
Clemens, of course, has had a knack of leaving teams in complete frustration for the last 10 years. The only time the Angels were able to score off Clemens in his eight-inning stint was in the third. Harold Reynolds drew a one-out walk, stole second base and scored on DiSarcina's single to right field.
That was the extent of the Angels' offense, which has produced only eight runs the four games of this home stand. They also have lost 13 of 15 games in which they have failed to obtain at least 10 hits.